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Genealogy and the Little Ice Age

A presentation by Wayne Shepheard


The next AFHS General Meeting will be at the church on Monday, May 7th at 7 pm.  See the AFHS calendar for location.


The Program:

As genealogists we seek information about our ancestors from as far back in time as possible. That being said, not all researchers may be familiar with the term, but some of the most important records we find were created during the time of the Little Ice Age.

The Little Ice Age was a cool climatic time period that lasted from about AD 1300 to 1850. It was a time in history when, from a physical or environmental standpoint, in comparison to the warm periods that preceded and followed:

  • temperatures around the globe were substantially cooler
  • weather was mostly unstable
  • storms were more frequent and more intense
  • food production was especially challenging
  • living conditions overall were harsh

All of these factors had enormous impact on the lives and livelihoods of people and contributed to famine, spread of disease, social unrest, injury to being and habitat and, in some cases, migration.

Because the Little Ice Age is the time frame that most coincides with genealogical research, it is important to understand the physical conditions under which people lived in order to assemble the most complete histories of families.

This presentation will hopefully bring perspective to the study of the generations of families who lived through the time of the Little Ice Age.

The Speaker:

Wayne Shepheard graduated in Geology from the University of Calgary and spent over 40 years applying his knowledge and expertise in the exploration for oil and gas, primarily in Western Canada. Following retirement, he has spent his time mostly doing family history research, exploring ancestral relationships in North America, Europe and the United Kingdom. Wayne also is active in expanding his interest in, and writing about natural phenomena and their impacts on people and communities.

Wayne lives in Calgary.